St. Louis Public Radio News
5:55 pm
Wed February 3, 2010

Ill. governor primaries remain too close to call

St. Louis – Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is declaring himself the winner of yesterday's democratic gubernatorial primary. But his opponent Comptroller Dan Hynes hasn't conceded yet.

Quinn has a very narrow lead on Dan Hynes. That means a request for a recount is possible. But Quinn says it's time to move on.

"It's over. The primary's over. The people have spoken and they voted our way."

Quinn views the attack ads during the primary as a "family contest."He now wants the Democratic party to come back together.

A spokesman for the Hynes campaign says it's premature to call a victory when all the votes have not been counted.

On the Republican side, it's too close to declare a winner. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, state Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington holds a 500-vote lead over the closest challenger, his state Senate colleague Kirk Dillard from the Chicago suburb of Hinsdale.

Brady said he and Dillard would discuss the possibility of a recount and work out a way to prevent the narrow margin of victory from dividing the party.

"I won't do anything that lets that happen," Brady said. "The Democrats will be going through the same thing in a much more hostile way. So I'm very comfortable that we'll work our way through this, bring the party together. Our campaign won't stop."

Recounts in lllinois are a complicated and time-consuming process, and could delay election results until spring.

Republican Congressman Mark Kirk and Democratic state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias are their party's nominees in the race to fill President Obama's former seat in the US Senate. Both won multi-candidate primaries; Kirk ran away with 57 percent of the vote in a six-way race, Giannoulias, a protege of the president, scored a narrower win over five candidates, including the inspector general of Chicago and a former press secretary to Governor Rod Blagojevich.

The seat is at the center of a federal corruption case against Blagojevich, who is charged with trying to sell it to the highest bidder. Kirk promised his supporters he would work to restore the integrity to the seat.

"A governor tried to sell it; Democrats stopped a special election to fill it, and partisans want to do whatever it takes to hold it," he said. "But I've got bad news for them because you and I know that the people of Illinois are ready for something different."

Giannoulias is sticking to a message of job creation, though he is likely to face continuing questions about financial troubles at his family's bank. He attributed his election to his stance on the economy.

"They want a senator who will fight to limit the power of Washington special interest and protect the jobs of everyday Illinois families," he said.

In St. Louis-area races, Democrat Hope Whitehead defeated Karla May, a Democrat running as an independent, to fill the unexpired term of former State Representative T.D. El-Amin. El-Amin resigned in September after pleading guilty to taking bribes from a businessman in his north St. Louis district. He was sentenced in January to 18 months in federal prison.

And in the Metro East, incumbent Eddie Lee Jackson, a former East St. Louis city councilman, appears to have beaten back a challenge from former East St. Louis mayor Carl Officer in their race for Illinois State Representative. Jackson was appointed to the seat in 2008 after the death of Wyvetter Younge, who held the seat for 33 years.